All posts by Mike DeHaan

Better Late than Never to Report on the 2011 Toronto Challenge 5Km

(Updated June 18, 2015): My latest article about this annual summer event in Toronto is “One View of the 2015 Toronto Challenge 5K Charity Run“.

I foolishly allowed my work schedule to keep me from writing about the running event that launched my hobby of running with a purpose beyond mild fitness.

Mike in the 2007 Toronto Challenge
Mike in the 2007 Toronto Challenge

The Toronto Challenge is an annual 5Km (3 mile, for readers from the USA) fund-raising running event in the city of Toronto, Ontario. Each entrant can raise money for one of approximately sixty housing or support institutions. Examples include the Yonge Street Mission for a variety of social programs including for those with marginal housing, True Davidson Acres (one residence of  many in the Toronto Long-Term Care Homes and Services), and the Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf.

I’ve participated in this charity race for eleven straight years. As I mentioned, this was the first event that I entered. It was so much fun to take over the streets with hundreds of others, to block traffic, and to see how I did compared to others…that I vowed to run a marathon someday.

I did indeed run my first marathon almost a year later. I really prefer going longer distances, using that excuse to avoid having my heart race and my legs burn; but I keep running this particular event. Partly to say “thank you” to the organizers, and partly to keep in touch with a few buddies who also are hardy perennials in this “garden”.

One other strong point about this event is that it includes a 5Km walk and 1Km walk. The heart breaker is the 1Km walk; generally these participants live in supportive housing because of frailty due to age, or because of physical or mental challenges. Most of these participants need help from a caregiver or relative to make it through the single kilometre…in the time it takes most of us to run 5Km.

My apologies if you would have entered the event this year, if only I had posted this article earlier. Check their web site for next year’s date, generally the second Sunday of June. This is one of the few events that accepts last-minute entrants…arrive an hour before start time, pay your dues, and receive your official bib.